Tatmadaw’s animosity mindset biggest barrier to peace and reconciliation


Scanning the news as usual, I recently came across a piece of news regarding the two civilians who were wounded due to the unexploded bomb that went off and gunfire’s bullet, in Buthitaung and Kyauktaw townships, Arakan state.

Photo by – RFA / injury of butheetaung and kyauktaw villagers

On May 13, U Aung Tun Sein 66, from Sabartha village, Buthitaung township, while taking care of his buffaloes in the evening was wounded as a bomb exploded near him.

On the same day, Daw Kya Shwe Yin 58, from Kyarnetkan village, Kyauktaw township, at about 8 pm. was hit by a bullet in her thigh while she was resting in front part of her house, according to her relatives, reported the Radio Free Asia (RFA) on May 14.

Regarding the matter the RFA interviewed commander of the west military region Colonel Win Zaw Oo, who said the Tatmadaw or Burma army didn’t operate in Sabartha village vicinity and the battle that occurred in Taung Oo village with the Arakan Army (AA) is also too far from Kyarnetkan village to hit anyone with gunfire or stray bullets.

Win Zaw Oo stressed in the interview saying: “As far as we could see episodes in Kyauktan and Nagar villages all (those wounded) are connected to the AA, including the women.”

He reiterated adding: “Because of such connections when there are wounded they always say (emphasizes) villagers are hit. (Actually) they are not villagers but all are connected (sympathizers or helpers) to the AA.”

While it is not fair to say that all Tatmadaw members are convinced that all Arakan or Rakhine people are enemies, its leadership has been operating in all ethnic states with such attitude on ethnic nationalities.

Hundreds of extra-judicial killings, disappearances and firing firearms at will on settlements without discrimination in all ethnic areas like Kachin, Shan and Karen states during Tatmadaw operation are not new things. One only need to delve into well documented reports compiled by various local and international rights groups.

Moreover, in a documentary movie “Burma Soldier” of 2010, a story told by Myo Myint, a political prisoner, who made the transformation from being a soldier in Burma’s junta to a pro-democracy activist, confirmed that the Tatmadaw soldiers were indoctrinated and trained to believe that all non-Bamar ethnic are enemies, who sympathized with the ethnic armies.

Thus, the scenarios unfolding in Arakan state is  the continuation of what the Tatmadaw have been employing for decades in all other ethnic states, that is the motto of “ the enemy’s friend is my foe” of which its opposite is “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”.

In short, if the Tatmadaw is seeing all ethnic nationalities as enemies and continue to wage oppression wars, which are the biggest obstacles to peace and reconciliation, our country will never see day light and we all will be doomed to live in the darkness of hatred, animosity and vicious circle of violence for a long time to come.

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